AB540 (Nonresident Tuition Exemption)

What is AB540?

Signed into law in October 2001, California Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) is a bill that provides an exemption to the requirement to pay nonresident tuition.  California Community College students who are granted an AB 540 exemption, will be charged in-state tuition and fees, and not the supplemental tuition charged to nonresidents.

Student smiling

Who is eligible?

Students (including undocumented students) who, for various reasons, are classified as nonresidents may be eligible. You must meet all three of the following requirements to be eligible:

1. Time and coursework requirements

Either:

Attendance for three full-time years or the equivalent at any combination of the following:

  • California high school
  • California adult school (established by a county office of education, a unified school district or high school district, or the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation).
  • California community college (maximum of two years of credit bearing courses can count toward this requirement)

Or:

Three years of California high school coursework and three years of total attendance at a California elementary school, California secondary school, or any combination of the two.

2. Degree or unit requirements

Meet one of the following requirements:

  • Graduation from a California high school (or attainment of the equivalent)
  • Attainment of an associate’s degree from a California community college
  • Fulfillment of minimum transfer requirements from a California community college to a UC or CSU campus

3. Signed Nonresident Exemption Request

You also must have signed the California Nonresident Exemption Request, which states that you meet all the requirements to qualify for AB 540 status and, if you are undocumented, are in the process of adjusting your immigration status (or will do so as soon as you are eligible).

AB-540 Form

Who's not eligible:

Students in possession of nonimmigrant visas (including, but not limited to any of the following visas: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T*, TN/TD, TWOV, U*, and NATO) are not eligible for this exemption.

*Except for holders of T and U visas: California Community College policy permits T and U visa holders with approved I-485 applications who meet the requirements described above to be exempt from nonresident supplemental tuition until they are eligible to establish California residency.

DACA students who do not meet the AB 540 tuition requirements, listed above, will not be eligible for the exemption.

 

Financial Aid and Scholarships

For a complete listing of scholarships, please refer to: http://scholarships.santarosa.edu/ 

For Financial Aid, please refer to: https://financialaid.santarosa.edu/dream-act


AB 540 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Will I qualify for AB 540 if I only attended 2 ½ years of High School in California?

No. The law clearly states 3 or more years of High School in California AND prior to the start of the semester term have attained a CA High School diploma or the equivalent of a California GED or a California Certificate of Proficiency.

Can I qualify for the AB 540 if I have not filed an application to legalize my immigration status?

Yes. Undocumented students are eligible for AB 540 as long as the student has attended high school in California for 3 or more years AND prior to the start of the semester term graduated/received a diploma from a California High School, or has attained a High School Equivalency Certificate (a California GED), or a California Certificate of Proficiency. Students who have filed an application to legalize their immigration status or students who will file an application as soon as eligible to do so qualify for AB 540.

Will an approved AB 540 make me eligible to apply for Financial Aid?

Yes. As of the Spring semester, January 1, 2013, students at Community Colleges eligible for the AB 540 may now apply for Financial Aid under the California Dream Act of 2011.

Students are eligible to apply now for privately funded scholarships, Board of Governors Fee Waivers, Assistance from EOPS/CARE, or CALWORKS and State financial aid like CAL GRANTS and CHAFEE Grants. Please check with our Financial Aid Office (707-527-4471) for information.

Will I be able to continue my eligibility for the AB 540 when I transfer to a higher Education in California?

The public system of higher education in California including the University of California, the California State University and the California Community Colleges have adopted the AB 540 as part of their educational code. You will be required to submit a new Affidavit form to the Office of the Registrar where you will be enrolled.

Will a student residing in another state and homeschooled through an online school in California who completed the 4 years and graduated qualify for the AB 540?

Home Schooling through a California school to complete the curriculum from a school in California while considered a resident of another state is not acceptable. AB 540 requirements specifically states “high school attendance in California for 3 or more years”.

Will a student who had 3 or more years of high school attendance in California and received a Certificate of Completion (other than a high school diploma) from a California high school qualifies for the AB 540?

Yes. A student who received a California Certificate of Completion in addition to the three years of California High School attendance is eligible for the AB 540 exemption from nonresident tuition.

A student who does not pass the California high school exit exam (CAHSEE) is still AB 540 eligible if the student received a Certificate of Completion from a California high school AND have completed the three years of high school in California.

This also applies to a student with a disability who had participated in special education in a California high school for 3 or more years AND received a California Certificate of Achievement/Completion.

Will a student who graduates from high school in May or June be able to submit their AB 540 Form 2 to 3 months before graduation for the SummerFall registration period?

Even though we cannot accept AB 540 forms from students until after they have graduated from high school, students can still register for summer and/or fall semesters during registration priority in April. The registration fees charged will temporarily include non-resident fees. Students do not have to pay these fees at the time of registration and should opt for the defer/pay fees later option. After high school graduation, students may submit the AB540 forms to the Admissions & Records Offices, and if the student meets the AB540 requirements, the non-resident fees will be reversed and removed from their account.

How can I be guaranteed confidentiality with information I submit on the AB 540?

The information you provide on the AB 540 is for college purposes only and must remain confidential under California law.

Do private universities such as the University of Southern California (USC), Stanford University, University of San Francisco (USF), or technical colleges like ITT Tech, Healds College, or Bryman College, etc. accepts the California AB 540 Affidavit nonresident tuition exemption?

No. Private colleges and universities set their own tuition policies. AB 540 applies only to public community colleges and universities in California.

Will I qualify to apply for the AB 540 if my graduation from high school was before the passage of AB 540 law?

As long as the student attended a California high school for 3 or more years AND graduated from a California high school, attained a California GED or California Certificate of Proficiency.

Am I eligible for the AB 540 tuition exemption if I hold a valid student visa?

No. AB 540 is available only to U.S. citizens, those with legal permanent resident status, undocumented immigrant student and just recently as of January 1, 2013, nonimmigrant students holding an approved “T” or “U” Visas. However, a nonimmigrant student holding an expired visa is no longer a non-immigrant and becomes undocumented. If a student is currently undocumented, the student is eligible to apply for the AB 540 exemption as long as the student meets the requirements under the AB 540.

Does AB 540 eligibility also qualifies me to change my immigration status?

AB 540 eligibility exempts a student from paying nonresident tuition. It DOES NOT change nor adjust immigration status. For information you may contact our Admissions & Records Office (707) 527-4685.